COMMISSIONERS OF NORTHERN LIGHTHOUSES

ADMISSION OF LIGHTKEEPERS
(Age limits 21 - 35 years)

1. If after reading these notes you wish to be considered for the post of a lightkeeper,you should make writtten application to the General Manager,Northern Lighthouse Board,28 North Bridge,Edinburgh EH1 1QG, giving the following information:-
(1)Date and place of Birth
(2)Height and weight
(3)Whether single,married,seperated or divoiced; if married,give particulars of family,if any.
(4)Past and present employers and nature of employments
(5)Whether ever charged with any crime or offence; if so,give particulars
2. If you are considered suitable and live at some distance from Edinburgh,
you will be asked to call upon the Principal Lightkeeper of the Lighthouse Station situated nearest to your address. You should take with you any references or discharge books you may possess. This is a valuable opportunity to see a Lighthouse and have the practical side of the Service explained to you. If married or engaged,you should,if possible,take your wife or fiancee with you. If,on the information supplied by the Principal Lightkeeper ,you are considered likely to be a suitable candidate,you will be sent an official Application Form to be completed by two Recommenders,your Doctor and yourself and returned to the General Manager accompanied by :-
(a)Your Birth Certificate
(b)Any references you have
(c)Any Discharge Papers from the Forces or Merchant Navy
3. If the information contained in the Application Form is considered satisfactory,you will be called to Headquarters in Edinburgh for final interview.Depending on the result of this interview,you may go forward for a simple educational examination in:-
Elementary Arithmetic,Geography and
General Knowledge

4. If you are accepted educationally,you will then be examined by the Commissioners Medical Adviser,and if you pass this examination you will thereafter be appointed a Supernumerary Lightkeeper on probation.
5. Second class travelling expenses will be reimbursed within the limits of Scotland and the Isle of Man.
6. If you live in or near Edinburgh,you will be asked to call at this Office for an interview by an Official and you should bring your Birth Certificate,also any references and Discharge Papers. If married or engaged, you should, if possible, be accompanied by your wife or fiancee. You may then be given an Appliction Form for completion by your-self,two Recommenders and your Doctor and, if the information furnished in this Application Form is regarded as satisfactory, you will be recalled to this Office for the simple educational and medical examinations already referred to.
7. As a Supernumerary Lightkeeper,you would be on probation at one month's notice and would be trained and employed at Lighthouse Stations until such time as the Commissioners are satisfied that you are competent to perform all the duties of an Assistant Lightkeeper;when a vacancey occurs there-after,you would be appointed an Assistant Lightkeeper on probation, As a general rule,married men are not allowed to have their wives and families with them during their service as Supernumerary Lightkeepers.
8. Lightkeepers serve in three main types of Stations-Mainland,Island and Rocks.At the Mainland and Island Stations,the Lightkeeper resides with his wife and family in a dwelling-house situated at the Lighthouse. At all Rock Stations except one a Lightkeeper does duty at the Lighthouse along with two other Keepers for a period of four weeks and,on completion of such duty,he spends two weeks ashore at the Shore Station where a dwelling house is provided for him and his family. The exception is Barra Head Lighthouse where the Lightkeepers spend six weeks on the Rock followed by three weeks ashore.
9. Lighthouse Keepers are transferred from one "Station" to another at intervals of aproximately 4 or 5 years. Prospective candidates and their wives should realise from the beginning that aproximately one-third of the manned Lighthouses are classified as Rock Stations and that consequently a Lightkeeper will be transferred to a Rock on several occasions during his career. If,therefore you or your wife are not prepared to be seperated for periods of 4 weeks at a time when you are doing duty at a Rock,you should go no further with your application.
10. It should be noted that Lightkeepers are required to travel to and from certain Rock Lighthouses by helicopter.
11. The dwellings with which Principal and Assistants Lightkeepers are provided are part furnished and equipped with bedding and kitchen utensils; no rents or rates are payable by the Lightkeepers. Heating and lighting are provided up to certain adequate limits. Uniform clothing is supplied on the satisfactory completion of training as a Supernumerary Lightkeeper and annually thereafter.
12. Principal and Assistant Lightkeepers are granted 28 days annual leave during the period 1 April - 31 March at the convenience of the Service.Supernumerary Lightkeepers are granted 14 days annual leave.
13. In the promotion of Supernumerary Keepers to be assistant Lightkeepers,and of the latter to the rank of Principal Lightkeepers,regard will be had not only to seniority,but to good conduct,efficiency and the requirements of the Service generally.
14.
                           Scale of Pay,etc.
                                                           
Supernumerary Lightkeeper      On appointment              980
                               After 1 years service - as for Assistant
                                                         Lightkeepers

Assistant Lightkeeper          On appointment            1,038
                               After 1 year              1,064
                               After 2 years             1,090
                               After 3 years             1,116
                               After 4 years             1,142
                               After 5 years             1,168
                               After 6 years (max)       1,194

Principal Lightkeeper          On appointment            1,330
                               After 1 year              1,368
                               After 2 years             1,406
                               After 3 years             1,444
                               After 4 years (max)       1,482

Rock Allowance

The rocks have been divided into two categories, Category 1 is comprised of the following Pillar Rocks:- Bell Rock and Skerryvore. Category 2 covers the remainder of the Rocks. The present rate is 60p per day for Category 1 and 48p per day for Catergory 2.


15. Supernumerary Lightkeepers residing at Lighthouse Station receive:-
(a)A Quarters Allowance of 20p per day
(b)if married, a Married Supernumerary's Allowance of 25p per day

At Rock Stations, they are victualled by the Commissioners at the rate of 60p per day when on the Rock; at other Stations, they pay for their own victualling.


16. Approximately three months after appointment as a Supernumerary Lightkeeper,the Commissioners would affect an assurance on your life for such amount as is obtained from an annual premium of 3.The policy is taken out in the name of the Commissioners and dealt with in accordance with special Service Regulations bearing on the subject.
17. Non-contributary Pensions,Gratuities,etc.are granted (as in the Civil Service) on the scales and conditions provided by the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme and are particularly generous for Lightkeepers,as their emoluments (free house,coal,light,etc) are taken as being worth one-third of their pay and are included in the calculations.

The Widows' and Childrens Pension Scheme is compulsory and contributory (1 % of pay).In the event of his death after 5 years reckonable service,his widow and children would receive pensions as laid down in the Scheme.

The Commissioners' established staff,which includes Lightkeepers,have been contracted-out of the State Graduated Pension Scheme and contribute only to the basic pension and earnings related supplement to sickness benefit.


18. If you have the right temperament and required qualities you will find the post of Lightkeeper a worthwhile and responsible one.

July 1972



PS I did my initial interview at Covesea Skerries,while waiting for the PLK,I chatted with the ALK,who later on,was one of the PLK's at Rattray Head when I was there.

If the address 28,North Bridge seems strange, 84,George Street was being refurbished.
When I visited for my interview a very Dickinson scene,there were loads of old fashion desks piled high with papers,I half expected them to be using quill pens!
When I actually signed on in April 1973 everything had moved back to George Street and been modernised!! for NLB

Yes,those scales of pay are per YEAR.